Custom home build must haves?

TheE

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With the large amount of smart and creative folks here, I just wanted to hear your "must haves" if you were building a new home.

Few of my ideas:

- IT/ Safe room - besides being a refuge place for severe weather, this would also be a hub to control all the home's IT and electrical

- Pre-wire patio for infrared heaters

-Cat 6 ran though out; two CAT 6 cables to each outside corner of the home, middle of outside walls, for each TV location, two in each room, kitchen, two at the front door, few for the back patio, for each AP point, etc.

- Hardwire window seals for motorized blinds/screens
 

mat200

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Also for me:

Metal electrical boxes...
Copper Pipe plumbing..
Bathrooms with windows to the outdoors.. ( interior bathrooms can be a real troublesome point imho for good ventilation )

Quality house wrap and water resistance

Enough room in the garage for workspace / storage of 2 wheel vehicles...
 

Old Timer

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Might as well run fiber to all of the cat 6 locations, and a couple places outside like the phone interface box, and any external building.
I would like fiber and 120v circuit to each corner of the property and the gate (entrance) for cameras, and motion sensors.

Put 2x4 backing in the bathrooms and showers for grab bars in case you get old some day.

Maybe wiring for some solar cells some day? who knows how high the commercial electricity will go.
 

samplenhold

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Full home natural gas emergency generator.

Walk in gun safe.

Access doors to each part of the attic areas and conduit between them for pulling Ethernet or other low voltage wires.

Plenty of 120vac outlets outside for Christmas lights and other things. I just have on at the front and back doors.

Plenty of 20amp 120vac outlets in the garage. There are whole walls in my garage w/o outlets.
 

curmudgeon

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- Indoor utility room/workshop when it's too hot/cold to work in the garages. If you have a basement, use some of that space, but be sure you have a way to vent it and exhaust dust, etc.

- If you have 2+ floors, put the laundry room upstairs where the bedrooms are

- extra couple feet in garage area for bikes, seems they are always in the way no matter how they are hung up

- consider hardwiring for motion sensors throughout, much more reliable than battery-operated, consumer-grade home automation gear

- give some thought about audio/video distribution. A video-over-IP or video-over-Cat6 system will enable any source in any room to be displayed on any TVs in other room(s)
 

Mark_M

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CCTV/Security:
  • You're installing cameras right? You know what you need there!
  • Ethernet for a pinhole camera in front door. Disguise a pinhole camera as a 'peep hole' viewer on your front door. It's a face height camera, might be better than a camera mounted above.
  • Something for mini monitors on walls for CCTV viewing feed. Likely ethernet again.
  • Burglar alarm
    Might also be extras like a panic button next to your master bed
  • IR flood lights?

General:
  • Coax lines to each room for TV, possibly another run for 'back feed' (in case you use a TV modulator).
  • Whole house IR repeaters.
    Seems like a weird one; but if you want to just point the TV remote anywhere or in any room then this would repeat the signal till the device receives it. I haven't looked much into these systems, but they exist
  • Outdoor speakers.
    Not just for the patio/deck but also for the cctv as an active deterrence.
  • Smart home sensors (doors/windows/ambient air)
  • Cables run for any external things to the house, e.g. garden lighting, fountains, electric gates.

Network:
  • Ethernet cable runs into each room.
    Possibly you may want it for internet access or something like HDMI over IP/Ethernet.
  • More ethernet for wireless access points
    Possibly you want wireless access points for decent home Wi-Fi (likely a mesh system).
    Could even be 2 ethernet lines per access point, that's if you really want a convenient way to login to the access point via it's "console" port. I don't think ubiquiti has much with console ports, I'm speaking from Ruckus networks knowledge.


I'll say a good one in my home cctv network;
I have HDMI over ethernet to a monitor at my desk. I do hope to change this for an HDMI over ethernet/IP 'KVM' so the same mouse for my computer can switch to control the recording device.
One I'm installing soon is a TV modulator. It will take an HDMI feed from the CCTV and broadcast it as a TV channel to each TV in the house.
 

silencery

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This will depend on where you are and other factors, but you may want to give solar roof strong consideration.
I'm not a tesla fan by any means, but after working out the math, it would have been a little bit cheaper to go with solar roof from the start compared to our fairly recent renovation with new tile roof + separate solar panels..

Separately, if we're just throwing out wishlist items, I would also add the following to consider:
  • Whole house surge protector (seriously!). This is number 1 on the list because it's cheap and easy to install for new construction. It won't protect against surges created WITHIN your house, but well worth the investment to protect your expensive appliances from external surges from your utility provider. Would have saved us thousands of dollars during a recent outage we had. Half the houses on our street suffered the same problem.
  • Generator inlet + interlock so you can use a portable generator for backup power
  • 225A+ electricity panel with solar support for future expansion
  • 240V in the garage for future EV charging
  • In addition to the places you've mentioned, CAT 6 ALSO anywhere you might want to power low voltage devices (LED lights, access points, wall mounted tablet, etc)
  • Hardwired motion sensors for security system (ALSO with CAT 6 since it can be used in place of 4 conductor)
  • Motorized sunroofs
  • Induction stove (nothing replaces fire, but hey, as it turns out, burning all that gas causes a ton of indoor pollution)
  • Whole house attic fan
  • For bathrooms: heated towel warmers or floors
  • Mast or roof mounted OTA antenna with RG6 hookup to your central wiring closet and future TV locations so you can cord cut more easily
 

juliand

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Don't forget to run a 1" smurf pipe from outside where your utilities will connect to your structured wire panel that you set up. This will get fiber inside to the panel.
Extra dedicated electrical outlets to that room also. Double the home runs from panel to outside hookup point.
 

looney2ns

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Build the house to Energy Star or higher rating standards.
Most contractors do a terrible job at making a home energy efficient, without a kick in the pants at the beginning.
Closed cell spray in foam.
2x6" exterior wall studs on 24" centers, filled with 1-2" of closed cell spray foam first, then rest of the cavity filled with rock wool insulation.
Do not run HVAC ducts through unconditioned spaces. Don't put your HVAC equipment in the attic.
Or do it Matts way.
 

juliand

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Build the house to Energy Star or higher rating standards.
Most contractors do a terrible job at making a home energy efficient, without a kick in the pants at the beginning.
Closed cell spray in foam.
2x6" exterior wall studs on 24" centers, filled with 1-2" of closed cell spray foam first, then rest of the cavity filled with rock wool insulation.
Do not run HVAC ducts through unconditioned spaces. Don't put your HVAC equipment in the attic.
Or do it Matts way.
ALL that shit costs loads of money, believe me my clients are mostly tight asses, especially the well off. I've been doing this since the late 70's, fresh out of college.
BUT - my company does everything you mentioned and then some as a standard feature. A.C. can go in the attic when you spray foam the trusses.
Use concrete block and fill the cells with foam, your home will not burn down without wooden walls in it.. They also have steel trusses available.
We even like to throw a dehumidifier up there. This is S.E. Fla. after all. - and we're not a shitty project home national builder.
Energy Star is a joke, just like building codes. If you build to those standards, they are the minimum and cheapest to do these days.
How much money do you have? - Costs are rediculous these days.
Sorry, this is not a rant on your post.
 
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SouthernYankee

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Where I live in Texas a "BASEMENT" is an indoor swimming pool. Soil is gumbo, non porous clay mud. The water table is at about 6 feet.

1)Depending on the lay out of the garage , driveway, mount two cameras on the garage, each side of the garage door, no higher then the top of the garage door., pointing down the drive way. Door checkers.
2) I have a camera on the over hang on the front door, also a camera on the door bell. a camera for the package drop area.
3) inside cameras in the public areas, also camera connections in the nursey, young kids room. I have 8 cameras inside the house. I have inside cameras covering each outside door.
4)cameras inside the garage.
5) I would have at least one ethernet connector in each room. Just in case.
6) if you are thinking of License plate reader (LPR) run power and two ether net cables to the mail box on the curb, or to a driveway light. ( I real wish I had done this)


A wired alarm system, with multiple sirens (+120 DB) inside and out. Wired Open door sensors, break glass sensors., open window sensors. Inside motion detectors, if you do not have dogs. Door sensors on the closet with the alarm system and camera connections
Door sensors on the closet with the gun safe. Floor water sensors in the hot water heater pan, and in the laundry room, these alarm loops are always on.

Non camera
1) Put A/C vents into all closets, the Texas gulf coast humidity will mildew anything.
2) Put automatic lights in all closets, open the door the light comes on.
3) switched power plugs on the soffit, to plug in the Christmas lights.
4) switch lights and extra power plugs in the attic.
5) if a large living room or game room power outlets in the floor, so a chair and table can be away from the wall.
6) Dog doors. In my house all outside doors require you to open a gate into a yard or court yard. The court yards are covered by the dogs.
7) door bells out side the court yard gates.
8) power plugs in the walk in closets.
9) double pane windows, cuts out side noise and heat loss. I love my windows.
10) I am old school, metal A/C and heating ducts double insulation wrapped. Not the folding duck work tubes.

if the house is on the Texas gulf coast build it 2 feet higher than you think you need to, it will always rain and flood. When you open the front door and think you live in a house boat you will realize what a great idea this was. I have had this multiple times.

if the house is on the Texas gulf coast build to the south Florida wind and hurricane standards. NOT the Texas building codes
 
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Old Timer

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Don't forget to run a 1" smurf pipe from outside where your utilities will connect to your structured wire panel that you set up. This will get fiber inside to the panel.
Extra dedicated electrical outlets to that room also. Double the home runs from panel to outside hookup point.
And make sure this pipe has sweep L's like they use in electrical work.

Above all, make sure it will be accessible once everything is finished, not 3 inches under the drive way like I did mine.
Wife made a last minute decision to widen the drive, and now I have to reach under the edge to get at the cheater pipe.
 

mat200

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ALL that shit costs loads of money, believe me my clients are mostly tight asses, especially the well off. I've been doing this since the late 70's, fresh out of college.
BUT - my company does everything you mentioned and then some as a standard feature. A.C. can go in the attic when you spray foam the trusses. We even like to throw a dehumidifier up there. This is S.E. Fla. after all. - and we're not a shitty project home national builder.
Energy Star is a joke, just like building codes. If you build to those standards, they are the minimum and cheapest to do these days.
Hi @juliand

I would enjoy to have you share with us your check list of what to include for a custom home...
 

Old Timer

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ALL that shit costs loads of money, believe me my clients are mostly tight asses, especially the well off. I've been doing this since the late 70's, fresh out of college.
BUT - my company does everything you mentioned and then some as a standard feature. A.C. can go in the attic when you spray foam the trusses.
Use concrete block and fill the cells with foam, your home will not burn down without wooden walls in it.. They also have steel trusses available.
We even like to throw a dehumidifier up there. This is S.E. Fla. after all. - and we're not a shitty project home national builder.
Energy Star is a joke, just like building codes. If you build to those standards, they are the minimum and cheapest to do these days.
How much money do you have? - Costs are rediculous these days.
Sorry, this is not a rant on your post.
If you really want a secure home, look into insulated concrete forms. It is large styrofoam type blocks that you put rebar inside then pour full of concrete. I helped build one that used the Pollysteel or 3:10 blocks. They leave you a 12" think wall that's massively insulated (R46?) along with tornado, bullet, hurricane, and other hazard proof. Then use something like Deklite and pour a concrete roof, for a total shell. If you go conventional roof, put the Mylar type solar reflective wrap under it. That will reduce the heat in your attic a ton! Made a 50+ deg difference when I added it to mine. Return air ducts up high to get the heat as it rises, and supply down low to push the hear up. 9 or 10' ceiling will help the heat also.

Follow the sub contractors around every night so you can get small stuff fixed, like any holes left open for air flow, even around wiring! Ask your general contractor questions a lot. That's what you pay him for.
A de-humidifier is a must there.
 

juliand

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there's no secret formula. just planning ahead that's all, along with your budget. prewiring is cheap in the long run, along with a solid structure and energy efficiency (uv and r values)
oh, and knowing your surrounding geographical/terrain/elevation. speaking of that - knowing what's under your building pad is very important also.
 
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